June 25, 2010
On June 10th, 2010 we hosted the third Toronto Flex Camp. Ed Van Beilen and myself are co-managers of the Toronto Flex User Group, which is in its fourth year and sporting over 1000 members in the GTA.
Unlike previous camps, this year’s event included hands-on sessions and spanned a full afternoon and evening. We were fortunate enough to have two Adobe representatives (Lee Brimelow and Renaun Erickson) lead several sessions, including the keynote. We also had a few people from our local Flex User Group step up and present: Jason Broughton, Andrew Rybak, Clement Wong and Derek Santos.
In presenting this event, we learned a few lessons and gathered some interesting statistics that I’d like to share.
Significantly, this is the first time we’ve charged for entry into a Toronto Flex Camp. To our delight, we did not receive a single complaint about the $25 CAD entry fee. By charging this nominal fee, we were able to increase the quality of the venues and catered fare.
Financially, we did a bit better than break even. This small surplus will be used to offset the costs of future regular meetings, which New Toronto Group has traditionally absorbed.
Of the 120 people who registered on the site, 112 completed the payment process.
Of the 112 paid registrants, 83 showed up, and we had 2 additional registrations at the door (despite our pleas that people register in advance) for a total of 85 attendees (76%).
Out of the 85 attendees, 61% filled out the survey and qualified to be in the prize draw.
Speaking of the survey, here’s how you rated the event:
Quality of the presentations: 82%
Usefulness of the event: 76%
Overall quality of the event: 83%
Would attend another Flex Camp: 94%
Looks like we did fairly well with the new format. That last number is probably the most important for us as we look at the feasibility of future Flex Camps.
Everyone seemed pleased with the venue and location, but we definitely needed more signage to direct people to the various venues. Thanks again to Brian Lesser and the folks at Ryerson for their invaluable help.
You also gave us some valuable feedback about the sessions themselves.
Foremost in the comments we received was to have more sessions, especially hands-on. Of course, the challenge is to find enough session leaders, so we may be pushing the local Flex community to help out more in the future.
Many of you also asked that the sessions be shorter in duration, perhaps limited to an hour. No argument here; just a matter of getting enough speakers to fill all those hours;)
We seem to have struck a good balance between introductory and advanced topics. Like in politics, you know you’ve done the right thing if an equal number of people on both sides complain. In our case, we had just as many people comment that they wanted more fundamental topics as those that wanted more advanced ones.
One surprise we had in the Management Session (led by Andrew and me) was the intense interest in mobile. In fact, about three slides into our RIA presentation we decided to completely change gears and focus the discussion on the upcoming Flash/mobile releases. No doubt that there will be more mobile content in future meetings.
Overall, Flex Camp 3 Toronto was a great success and we look forward to doing another one in the future. Please check the Toronto Flex User Group website for Fall meeting announcements and job postings at http://www.torontoflex.org. And if you’d like to lead a future session or have an idea for a meeting topic, please contact Ed or me via the link on the site.
Finally, thanks to all who attended and gave us such encouraging feedback.
See you in the Fall!